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Tag: economy

USA Workforce Tax Credit

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Previously I wrote about the NY Times opinion piece, “Should the Fed Guarantee You a Job?”, the article proposed a government-funded program that would guarantee participants government jobs. Read my response “Back to Work – Job Guarantee”. With this past year being devastating to many American businesses and families, finding ways to provide new employment opportunities is crucial to our country’s economic recovery. I proposed that we merge the Work Opportunity Tax Credit and the Educational Income Tax Credit (found in Pennsylvania) to create a new tax credit solution for training skilled workers. What if a business or individual could contribute to a 501(c)(3) organization that provides job training services to low-income households and receive a tax credit for it? It would allow low-income families to learn a skill necessary for steady income provided through private-sector work. You don’t have to search very hard to observe that we have a shortage of skilled trade labor in our country. Could this solution also help us close that gap?

Congressman Smucker of PA’s 11th district, who serves on the Ways and Means Committee, sponsored a bill, HR 1739 – “USA Workforce Tax Credit Act” in the 2019-2020 session, which aimed to address workforce development and apprenticeship training. In addition to Congressman Smucker, Mr. Mooney of West Virginia, Ms. Stefanik, Mr. Budd, Mr. Gaetz, Mr. Collins of New York, Mrs. Lesko, and Mr. Kustoff of Tennessee introduced the bill. This bill should be presented to congress again as it is the right time for such action. In this bill, businesses or individuals would receive a tax credit for a contribution to qualifying workforce development or apprenticeship training organizations. The bill functions similarly to the EITC program, which has been very successful in Pennsylvania. If the bill doesn’t make it through federally, I would love to see it implemented in Pennsylvania.

What is a workforce development or apprenticeship training program?

A Workforce Development or Apprenticeship Training organization could include

  • Community Colleges
  • Workforce Training Programs (defined by State workforce agencies)
  • Organizations that provide career and technical education
  • Organizations that provide training or apprenticeships
  • Community organizations that provide full certified training
  • Private schools that confer diplomas, degrees, or certify completion of certain grades

What is a scholarship granting organization?

A scholarship granting organization is a qualified elementary or secondary education organization whose exclusive purpose is to provide tuition scholarships for eligible student’s qualified expenses. This organization provides scholarships to more than one student and different students attending more than one school.

How do you qualify?

The only requirement for eligible participants is to be enrolled in a workforce or apprenticeship training organization as previously outlined. To qualify for a scholarship from an educational organization, the recipient must be a household member whose combined income is below 200% of the median gross income as determined by the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. In 2019 the median household income was $68,703.

How does this benefit Americans?

This proposed bill’s primary benefit is to help fund programs that provide training for the many skilled and workforce jobs that need to be filled in America. Not only does a business or individual benefit from the tax credit received, but the participants in these programs also gain access to opportunities they may not have been able to afford otherwise. Getting a person into a job right away that provides learning as they work is critical to advancement and growth. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, “nearly 9 out of 10 apprentices are employed after completing their apprenticeship.” They also start their new employment with an average salary of $70,000 per year. To find out more about apprenticeships and training opportunities in PA visit Pennsylvania CareerLink.

In addition to apprenticeships, this bill also enables families, who may not have afforded it otherwise, to send their kids to good schools to receive a quality education and put them on the path towards a financially sustainable career. Programs like EITC in Pennsylvania, which this bill was modeled after, provide scholarship opportunities for families to send their kids to the school of their choice. Because EITC allows businesses to differ tax dollars to scholarship and educational improvement organizations, they can choose the good schools that get these additional donations, creating better competition resulting in better education. In a free-market society, competition pushes products to improve. The same is true in education. Where there is no competition, there is no incentive for improvement.

The government’s role is not to provide financial resources for the people. Its role is to promote opportunity so that a person who applies hard work and discipline can achieve financial stability and success. This bill creates the opportunity for United States citizens to get jobs and gain the experience and training needed to reach financial stability through solid employment. With time and hard work, this common-sense approach will build a more stable long-term economy. The key is getting people willing to work into jobs.

I Said This From the Beginning

Reading Time: 3 minutes

As we approach the 1 year anniversary of the “2-week quarantine”, let’s talk about the pandemic. In March of 2020, we didn’t know what we were facing with COVID-19. As a result, our country shut down for 2 weeks to analyze and allow hospitals to prepare and not be overwhelmed. While we are a country of independent-minded people, the country, willingly or not, paused for what was supposed to be 2 weeks. During the lockdown, hospitals lost money and had to lay off staff which created a shortage when we needed them. Here we are a year later, with many states (mine included) still in a lockdown state resulting in economic and emotional depression.

Our country, though not perfect, is blessed to have been founded by individuals with great wisdom and insight to form a government with balanced power and anti-monarchical states. We are structured for balance within the federal government by three branches, and power is distributed to the states. These tiers of government, federal, state, and local, allow for the adoption of laws and policies uniquely beneficial to the regions they represent. What works in California may not work in Pennsylvania.

Back to Work – Job Guarantee

Reading Time: 3 minutes

In a recent Gallup poll, 93% of Americans said they favor a national initiative that creates paid work and job training opportunities as a component of COVID-19 economic recovery efforts.

This past year has been devastating for many American businesses and families financially. With government-mandated lockdowns, unemployment has risen as businesses reduced their labor force or closed completely. We can argue on whether or not the lockdown mandates were necessary. Still, no matter which side of the argument you are on, it doesn’t change the fact that the lockdowns contributed to the current economic crisis we face in America.

Last week the NY Times wrote an article titled, “Should the Fed Guarantee You a Job?”. This isn’t the first time this idea has been proposed, but it is becoming highlighted due to the mass amounts of jobs lost from the pandemic. The current proposal is that the federal government would provide taxpayer-funded training for low-income or unemployed households. At the end of the training, participants would be guaranteed government jobs.

Our Next Governor

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Regardless of political affiliation, I think we can all agree the next governor of Pennsylvania has some work to do to restore our Commonwealth to its economic potential. Whether you think it was caused by the pandemic, poor leadership, or a combination of the two, arguing about why we are here doesn’t change the fact that we are here, and that changes are necessary for long-term sustainability and growth.

While we tend to follow the people who are good at getting our emotions stirred up, this type of person, in my opinion, is not who would be best as our next governor. Our next governor needs to be someone who provides stable leadership with humility and integrity, speaks truth graciously, and isn’t motivated by the position of power. They need to be willing to listen to Pennsylvanians all across the state and make difficult decisions that are for the betterment of the Commonwealth, not necessarily their political career.

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